Overwhelmed?

When life is overwhelming, I lose sight and feel like I’m spinning out of control.

My husband works in one city right now and my boys and I live in another. Jim has an apartment there and the boys and I live in our house here. We will move to the new city mid-summer whether the house sells or not. There is a tension while we wait. I absolutely know that God is in control and yet I too often try my best to carry all the details regarding future change.

It was easy to ignore the process of moving until we decided to get the house ready for selling. We started with a garage sale so we could move everything out that we didn’t want to take with us.  I started by simply cleaning out and clearing out. Then I found other things to clean out and clear out and oh, by the way, the cupboards need cleaning and the yard is a mess, and I’d better start that moving list to make sure it all happens in an orderly fashion. The next thing you know I’ve created days and days of work to complete before the garage sale date. Everything needed to be finished and it was up to me to make it happen. My mind played tag with daily household responsibilities, home schooling, relationships, garage sale, preparing the house for showings, preparing to move, conducting an open house, and… I felt like a Mac truck driving down the Appalachian Mountains with failing brakes! I needed a runaway truck ramp.

I prayed.

After several weeks of praying, while driving down hill out of control, it occurred to me to spend some time alone and sort out my thoughts and feelings and see where that would take me. I was aware that I was carrying a load much too heavy for me, but I couldn’t see which of my concerns were actual responsibilities to tackle and which were concerns to lift up to the Lord for him to handle.

I started as I have many times before by making a list of everything that concerned me. First, I listed concerns I have for Jim, then the boys. Next, I wrote down concerns for my daughters, Matti, her husband Jon, and their children, and Mallari who lives hundreds of miles away.  I finished the exercise by writing down concerns I had for myself. The combined list was VERY long.

Seeing the list in black and white detangled my thoughts and emotions by first allowing me to see just how desperately I had been trying to take care of myself. I repented and asked God to help me. Then, I divided the list into two categories, RESPONSIBILITIES: things that are within my power to accomplish and CONCERNS: things that only God can do.

I prayed.

A few days later, the Lord, by his Spirit and through his word, reminded me so sweetly and gently that He is my only comfort. Specifically, he encouraged me with Ezra 8:21-23. The hand of God is for good on all who seek him.

I began to thank the Lord for his word, which is active and alive. I praise him even now for his love and care. He is faithful. He listens.

God’s comfort is a place to land. It is a stop ramp that brings LIFE.

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6 thoughts on “Overwhelmed?

  1. Bridgette Booth says:

    I followed your tweet to get here. 🙂 Enjoyed reading your post because I can really relate to how you feel. So sorry we haven’t had time to talk.

    Love the idea of making a list. Oh, and praying. Praying is always good.

    Love you,
    Bridge

  2. Martha Brady says:

    loved this:) when i think of being overwhelmed, i will now think of a truck going down a mountain. up to now, i’ve usually thought of someone who is drowning. i need to sit down and do this myself…not only the making of the list, but the prayer time that goes with it! thanks.

  3. Ali Dent says:

    Dear Martha,
    Your words are so encouraging. While I was writing, I thought, “I’m probably the only person who ever gets this ‘out of hand’. I probably sound like a crazy lady.” Your affirmation helps.
    I hope the Responsibility/Concern/Prayer exercise untangles a few knots for you the next time you feel overwhelmed. When my concerns are locked in my head, I begin to feel helpless and hopeless. Getting them on paper really does give me a bird’s eye view of how strongly I’m relying upon myself and how desperately I need God. It also helps me see where I need to spend my time and make intentional decisions.
    Love you!!!!

  4. Torri Beard says:

    Ali,
    I really enjoyed reading this blog. I can’t tell you how much I have said, “I feel overwhelmed.” I like the way you broke your list up into sections where you could identify things you could handle vs things you can pray and seek God’s guidance. I have actually said, “Lord, I cannot handle this situation,” at times, “so I’m going to give this to you. Please take this burden from me and guide me to do your will.”. I have learned to fully trust that he will see me through.
    We have a great and loving God who wants us to rely on him. Thank you, Ali, for inspiring me to see, once again, that Jesus is my comforter and my strenghth in difficult times and that I need a more specific “to do” list with a prayer section to our Lord.

    • Ali Dent says:

      Dear Torri,
      I need daily reminders to relinquish control and trust in our precious Lord. Thank you for leaving this comment. It is an encouragement to me to stay the course.
      Love you, dear friend.

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